Spotting mold in your shower feels like a disaster, but it happens—especially if your bathroom doesn’t get much air-flow. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow in moist spaces. “Since showers are typically used multiple times a day, it’s difficult for their surfaces to dry fully between uses,” says James Conner, vice president of operations at Neighborly, the parent organization of house-cleaning company Molly Maid. Luckily, having a moldy shower doesn’t mean you’re doomed. You just need the right techniques and tools to squelch the mold.
First of all, Conner says the best way to combat shower mold is to take a preventative approach. If you regularly wipe down surfaces and dry them off after a shower, leave your shower door or curtain open to allow airflow, and/or run an exhaust fan to decrease your chances of seeing mold pop up. Cleaning often is also important.
“If you’re able to wipe down and dry off the tub, shower liner, and tile each time you bathe, you won’t need to deep clean your shower with bleach or other harsh cleaners more than once a month,” he says. “If your shower curtain is washable, wash it about once per month. And if your plastic shower liner can be put in the washing machine, wash it one or two times a month. You can even add a towel or two to the washing machine with the liner to help ‘scrub’ the liner.”
But for those times when you already have a moldy mess in the shower, here’s exactly how he says to tackle it.
Here’s what you need to clean a moldy shower
If you see mold in your shower, Conner says the best way to go after it is with a cleaning product formulated to remove mold. This option can kill 99.9 percent of household bacteria, as well as get rid of mold and mildew. “If mold does appear on your shower curtain, grout, tile, or fixtures, there are a few ways to get rid of it. Any cleaning product that specifies effectiveness against mold will work, as will a diluted bleach mixture,” he says.
If you want to clean the mold or mildew with bleach, Conner has a process that works like a charm. “Start the bathtub-cleaning process by filling a spray bottle with hot water and four tablespoons of bleach,” he says. “Spray this solution onto the affected areas, and allow it to soak in. While the bleach is soaking in, sprinkle baking soda throughout the tub.”
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After you treat the mold or mildew with the cleaning spray or bleach mixture, scrub it away with a nylon cleaning brush. “Fill a bucket with a half-gallon of hot water and two tablespoons of dish soap. Then dip a scrub sponge or a stiff nylon brush into the bucket, and scrub all bathtub surfaces,” he says. “Use the bucket to periodically rinse out the sponge or brush.”
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3. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $14 for Two 5-Pound Bags
If you need some extra help cleaning your tub, Conner says to use baking soda. “When cleaning especially dirty tubs or stains, sprinkle baking soda directly onto the sponge or brush after dipping it in your bucket solution, and scrub hard,” he says. “Once you’re satisfied and the tub looks clean, use the bathtub hand sprayer or the water in the bucket to rinse the tub. Always be sure to dry off your bathroom surfaces when you’re done.”
Shop now: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, $14 for Two Five-Pound Bags
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